Mahakala Stavam

Mahakal.  Great Time. The One Beyond Time. The representation of a profound philosophical expression, the Lord of Time is a visual invitation for us to ponder the infinite. This prayer offers a systematic process to conceptualize the idea of time and space and to locate our own personal space in the continuum.

नमस्यामि महाकालं सर्वसम्पत्तिदायकम्।

namasyAmi mahAkAlaM sarvasampattidAyakam |

खर्वं लम्बोदरं नीलमष्टनागविभूषितम्॥ १॥

kharvaM lambodaraM nIlamaShTanAgavibhUShitam || 1||

Complete Stotram: श्रीमहाकालस्तवम्

Durga Aapaduddhvara Stotram

Currently @ Rubin Museum, New York

Sri Sri Devi Durga represents the energy to overcome obstacles. This prayer invokes that energy. It is most relevant to those who are facing difficulties and are seeking to overcome those difficulties with a little help from the Divine Mother.

namaste sharaNye shive sAnukampe

नमस्ते जगद्व्यापिके विश्वरूपे ।

namaste jagadvyApike vishvarUpe |

Complete Stotram: श्रीदुर्गापदुद्धारस्तोत्रम्

Tulsi Stotram

The Tulsi Matha is a prominent feature in courtyards and kausis of homes. Offering water and prayers to the specially consecrated plant is a daily practice.

Tulsi is particularly relevant to Nepal. The Devi Bhagvat Purana recognizes the Gandaki River as the body of Tulsi and the plant itself as the hair of the Goddess. Sri Sri Devi Tulsi is paired with Bhagwan Vishnu, manifest in the form of the Shaligram that is only found in the banks of the Kali Gandaki River.

जगद्धात्रि! नमस्तुभ्यं विष्णोश्च प्रियवल्लभे ।

jagaddhAtri! namastubhyaM viShNoshcha priyavallabhe |

यतो ब्रह्मादयो देवाः सृष्टि स्थित्यन्तकारिणः ॥

yato brahmAdayo devAH sR^iShTi sthityantakAriNaH ||

Complete Stotram: श्रीतुलसीस्तोत्रम्

Umamaheshwar Stotram

The essence of the Kaula tradition is the celebration of the unity between the female and the male principle. Neither the male nor the female dominates. Both are happy in the company of each other. They live a normal life. Have children. Do good. Foster society. 

Umamaheshwara is the representation of the ideal Kaula life. Sri Sri Devi Uma/ Parvati is comfortably seated on the lap of Sri Sri Maheswara/ Shankara. They are relaxed. Their faces are radiant. Their children–Ganesh, Kumar, and Kumari–are happy in their company. The world is good!

This prayer to Umamaheshwar evokes the sentiments of a blissful life. Its author is Adi Shankara.

नमः शिवाभ्यां नवयौवनाभ्याम्

namaH shivAbhyA.n navayauvanAbhyAm.h

परस्पराश्लिष्टवपुर्धराभ्याम् ।

parasparAshliShTavapurdharAbhyAm.h .

Complete Stotram: श्रीउमामहेश्वरस्तोत्रम्

Stotram for the learning child

This is a simple prayer, in Nepali, for a child to recite before s/he begins her/ his studies.


जय जगदीश्रर ! जय अविनाशी

jaya jagadIshrara ! jaya avinAshI

जय जय भगवन् ! करुणा राशि ।

jaya jaya bhagavan ! karuNA rAshi |

Complete Stotram: श्रीबालकशिक्षारम्भस्तोत्रम्


Tulaja Stotram


Taeju Bhawani / Tulaja Bhawani is the representation of the primordial energy associated with the creation process.  From Nothing a sudden spark of light is manifest. The light energy evolves into sound and from sound the gross material universe takes shape. That light is the bridge between the Unmanifest and Consciousness. The energy that gave rise to that light: that is Tulaja Bhawani.

Bhawani’s role as the first flash of light is celebrated in the form of the tika placed on the forehead of women and men. As the founder of the material universe, She is invoked in the founding of new human settlements and in the consolidation of nation states.  The Tulaja Temple in Lhasa, Tibet and the substantial temples that are dedicated to the Goddess in the palace squares of Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur are examples. In modern day India, a temple in Tuljapur, Maharastra  is the most famous representation of a once essential tradition.

The Tualajastaka below is a prayer composed by Adi Sankara. 

दुग्धेन्दु कुन्दोज्ज्वलसुन्दराङ्गीं

dugdhendu kundojjvalasundarA~NgIM

मुक्ताफलाहारविभूषिताङ्गीम् ।

muktAphalAhAravibhUShitA~NgIm |

Complete Stotram: श्रीश्री तुलजाष्टकम्

Haratimata Stotram


Haratimata also commonly referred to as Harati Ajima or simply Ajima is the protector of children. Guardians of young children–newborn to approximately three years of age–seek the Divine Mother’s help in securing good health for their progeny in the form of this prayer.

A dedicated temple to the Ajima is located in the campus of the Swayambhunath Stupa. The picture below is of a sculptural representation of the Goddess located at the Kumbheshwor Temple, in Lalitpur.

श्रीहारतीदेव्यै नम:

shrI hAratIdevyaiH namaH

कुन्दप्रसूनसदृशीं रुचिराङ्गरागाम्

kundaprasUnasadRRishIM ruchirA~NgarAgAm

Complete Stotram: श्रीहारतीमाताशिशुरक्षास्तोत्रम्

Saraswati vandana

सरस्वती वन्दना

Saraswati is the Goddess of Learning and Knowledge. As a child, I was taught to seek Her help with my studies with this special prayer . The prayer is particularly favored by parents across Nepal and Mithila.

The prayer is in three parts. First, visualize the Goddess. Second, call out to Her. Third, seek Her blessings.

I visualize Saraswati in a particular form. In this form, She holds the veena on one right hand and a book on her left. She is accompanied by Her favorite pet, the swan. Calm in disposition and beatific in expression, She is ready to grant knowledge to those who persevere.

Focused on this form of Saraswati in my mind, I call out to her twelve times with twelve separate names. Each name evokes a specific attribute. Bharati = Speech. Saraswati = Power of the spoken word. Sharada = One who is holding the veena. Hamsavahini = One who is sitting astride a swan. Jaganmata = Mother of the Universe. Vagishwari = Goddess of the power of speech. Kaumari = Young girl. Varadayani = One who grants boons. Buddhidatri = Grantor of Knowledge. Brahmacharini = Pure.  Chandraghanta = One who is adorned with a half-moon shaped in the form of a bell. Bhuvaneshvari = Goddess of all existence.

This Saraswati, who is the power that animates, I ask that she bless me by residing at the tip of my tongue.

And so it is.


सरस्वती माया दृष्टा वीणापुस्तकधारिणी।

sarasvatI mAyA dRRiShTA vINApustakadhAriNI|

हंसवाहनसंयुक्ता विद्यादानं करोतु मे ॥

haMsavAhanasaMyuktA vidyAdAnaM karotu me ||

Complete stotra

Ganesh stotram for children

The सङ्कटनाशन गणेशस्तोत्रम् is the first prayer I learnt as a child. It was taught to me by my grandfather. I have passed it on to my children.

My children recite this prayer every morning. Prior to breakfast, they sit with us, face the सुकुन्दा that we brought from Nepal and repeat this prayer composed by the Sage Narada for the benefit of those who are devoted to Ganesha.

There are three parts to this prayer. First, Narada remembers Ganesha. Second, he calls out Ganesha’s twelve favorite nicknames. Third, he prescribes the method for offering the prayer. Finally, he informs us of the benefits of repeating the prayer according to his prescription.

Narada’s vision of Ganesh is the one who is the first among the Gods. He is the son of Gauri. He lives in our hearts and grants us good health and prosperity.

Once we visualize in our heart, we then call him out with his twelve favorite nicknames: Hey! Curved-face Hi! One-tooth. Yo! Dark eye. Hi! Elephant-face, Yo! Big tummy, Pretty face, Obstacle-king, Dusky-skined, One who wears a half-moon on his head, Problem remover, Leader of the clan, Elephant-face (again).

Narada recommends that we offer this prayer three times a day. Doing so, he says, will bring rewards. The rewards will be the fulfillment of individual wishes. Students gain knowledge. The person seeking money will find some. The devotee seeking a good child will be blessed with one. The learned will discover the ultimate meaning of life.

Narada provides a timeline for the wish-seeking devotee. Six months for the first sign of success. Fulfillment in full in one year. Do one more thing for extra benefits, he says. Make eight copies of this prayer and offer it to your eight wise friends so that they too can benefit from the grace of the One who removes all obstacles.

And so it is!

सङ्कटनाशन गणेशस्तोत्रम्

श्रीगणेशाय नमः । नारद उवाच:

shrIgaNeshAya namaH. nArada uvAchaH

प्रणम्य शिरसा देवं गौरीपुत्रं विनायकम् ।

praNamya shirasA devaM gaurIputraM vinAyakam .

भक्तावासं स्मरेन्नित्यमायुःकामार्थसिद्धये ॥ १॥

bhaktAvAsaM smarennityamAyuHkAmArthasiddhaye .. 1..

Full version



ॐ नमः श्रीविघ्नेश्वराष्टमातृकाभ्यः।

विघ्नेश्वर महावीर सिद्धिरूपाय वृद्धये।

विघ्ननाशाय देवाय गणेशाय नमाम्यहम्॥ १॥

पूर्वे ब्रह्माणी देवी हंसमारुह्य संस्थिता।

पीतवर्णप्रभा देवी श्रीब्रह्माणि नमोऽस्तु ते॥ २॥

दक्षिणे श्रीवाराही महिषासनसंस्थिता।

रक्तवर्णाऽङ्कुशहस्ता श्रीवाराहि नमोऽस्तु ते॥ ३॥

पश्चिमे चेन्द्राणी देवी गजमारुह्य संस्थिता।

कुङ्कुमाभा वज्रहस्ता श्री‍इन्द्राणि नमोऽस्तु ते॥ ४॥

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